I think animals and nature can always teach us something if we dare to learn from them. Let’s discover what beavers can teach us.
The beaver is the national animal of Canada and is depicted on the Canadian nickel. Beavers are family oriented, monogamous, and pair for life. Both parents participate in raising the kits and toilet train them to use an underwater door in their lodges. The one-year-olds help keep the bedding washed in the nursery by cleaning it out regularly. (That’s impressive!)
And when a beaver hears running water, it thinks the dam has broken so it gets to work to repair it immediately. No need for uxorial prompting to get the repairs done!
If a parent has been separated from the family for any reason, the older kits take over his or her role. Once the kits leave home, they don’t venture too far away from their family, and like human animals, they are able to recognize a family member among other beavers with one difference: beavers identify family by the makeup of their anal gland secretions.
“The beaver family provides protection for all the residents of the pond,” digging out escape routes to avert predators along with secret entrances and exits to their lodges (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c). When a beaver senses a wolf or bear nearby, it will “slap” its tail to alert the others.
North America’s landscape is built primarily by beavers. They fell hundreds of trees to build a dam (“a barrier that impounds water or underground streams”) and have been labeled “extraordinary engineers” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c). They know precisely where to place every twig, rock, and branch so that their lodges are secure. They dredge mud from the bottom of the pond to seal their homes, and the entire family pitches in (pun intended).
The younger beavers are apprentices who watch and learn from their fathers, who show them how to repair any damage to their lodge. At the end of summer, beavers speedily gather food and store it before winter arrives and the pond freezes over. Beaver dams provide protection and an array of food for other wildlife. The trees that beavers cut down are homes for insects that become a buffet for woodpeckers. Frogs from the pond become a meal for raccoons, and birds that migrate for the winter use the beaver ponds for nesting sites and rest stops. Geese find it warm to nest on top of the beaver lodges, while deer and elk forage on the lush greenery. These dams provide other animals with nutrient rich delights.
Water is a basic need for human animals and all other animals, and billions of tons of water are filtered through beaver damns! In 2002 the only places in nature without drought were where beavers lived; hence the conclusion that with beavers, ponds will be full of water but without beavers, they won’t.
Beavers definitely have the engineering and sound construction of lodges figured out perfectly. In addition, their landscaping abilities prove beneficial to many. “Beavers turn deserts into gardens” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c).
Beavers mate for life! They don’t run out on each other in tough times. If one of the parents dies, there is no contention between siblings as to who should remain at home as there is with human animals; the kits all remain to help out the surviving parent.
Beavers look out for each other, warn each other in times of danger, and are very prepared animals. No wonder the saying goes, “Busy as a beaver,” but busy being useful and productive, which blesses many.
See more about beavers at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLyBZ1mdg2c.
Blood Is Supposed to Be Thicker Than Water.
I saw my mom huddled over in the corner, crying almost uncontrollably. I asked her what was making her so sad, and although grief had her hostage, she did her best to explain that she had lost a very good friend.
I gently touched her on the shoulder, sat beside her, and asked if she meant that her friend had died. She said, no, that a conflict between my dad and her friend’s husband had caused the death of this most valued relationship between my mom and her dear friend.
We sat and talked for a while, and soon I learned another relevant lesson. It was then that she said to me, “Blood is supposed to be thicker than water.”
She went on to decode this truth: she had believed the strong bond she had with her friend was unbreakable, especially because she had been so loyal to her girlfriend and protected her when her girlfriend’s husband was abusive to her girlfriend so when it came time for her friend to fight for their friendship, her friend had chosen to stand beside her husband.
At the time I thought “blood is thicker than water” meant that if someone had to choose between a family member who was not a good friend or a loyal friend who was not family by blood, that person would always choose family. But what it really means is that even our own family ties, or “water from the womb,” should not be the determining decision as to whom one should be loyal to.
An example of that loyalty is in times past there was a ceremonial custom of mixing blood. Two people would each make a small cut on one hand, to slightly draw blood, and then shake hands so as to seal the bond; in doing so, they were forming a covenant to treat one another as blood brothers. This signified an everlasting alliance. In simple terms, it meant this blood relationship was thicker or more substantial than just sharing the same DNA with someone. Hence the saying, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”
Later in life, when I had my own experiences of losing friends I thought I would have for life, I came to understand the pain my mom felt and the fear that argued to her over the loss of her friend and that void would never be filled again.
As an adult, I have opened my heart, my home, my wallet, and my mind to share all that I had with people I presumed to be my blood comrades, only to receive a meager return. And when I saw how those same individuals gave to their family members, though they were treated unkindly by them, my mom’s face came to mind and I recalled the pain in her heart that was now mine.
I didn’t want to give up on people and be a loner, but I knew I had to develop a higher concept of relationships, so as I usually do when challenges arise, I searched for the highest solution by turning wholeheartedly to prayer. I continued to search for a greater understanding of love, and it became clear to me that love is meant to be shared, exchanged, and felt—we are not to withhold its splendor.
I read, I studied, and I pondered, finding precious pearls of wisdom; one idea came from the gospel of Matthew 12:46-48 “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?” (KJV)
I searched for a deeper understanding of this and found Matthew Henry’s commentary, “His mother and brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him, when they should have been standing within, desiring to hear him. Frequently, those who are nearest to the means of knowledge and grace are most negligent. We are apt to neglect that which we think we may have any day, forgetting that to-morrow is not ours.”
In consulting with my mentor at the time about this subject, she led me to a particular concept that was like a message directly from heaven. It was written by theologian and author Mary Baker Eddy and can be found in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return. Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it. The wintry blasts of earth may uproot the flowers of affection, and scatter them to the winds; but this severance of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world and begins to unfold its wings for heaven.”
I was so moved by this passage that it changed my entire belief system on how love is supposed to look, even though it meet no return. Love still looks like love. Not one thing changes about love. It is still kind, it is still benevolent, and it remains forever merciful. It never becomes unloving. But this concept is not an easy one to uphold. It requires a discipline of selflessness, which is not always easy.
I love to love, and I certainly love to be loved, but now I get it. Love is not always going to be returned the way you’d like just because you have shared it, and even if it does, there is no guarantee it will last a lifetime.
There are still times when I long to hear a thoughtful message from those I have loved but have since left my experience; times that I hope to receive a message of why they really left or even just an update as to how they are doing. But even if I never do, I must remain satisfied and without regret for loving them in the first place.
I trust that if I continue to be filled with the love that Love is, one day it will no longer matter if anyone else shares love with me, because the true fulfillment of Love leaves no room for loneliness.
I love you!
I think that animals and nature can always teach us something if we dare to learn. Let’s discover what geese can teach us.
Geese are categorized as anseriformes, which include about 140 different species. A female is called a goose and a male a gander. A baby is called a gosling. A group of geese is called a gaggle. Though they are waterfowls they do like spending quite a bit of time on land. They love to eat mostly fertilized grass and spend most of the daytime doing just that.1
Geese fly together in what is called a “V” formation or a wedge. This enables them to fly 70% better than if they fly solo.2 They make a honking noise, which symbolizes “encouragement” to whomever is leading the formation and when the goose or gander who is at the point position tires or sickens, another one in the formation moves into that post so the one who needs rest can fall back.3
I think that animals and nature can always teach us something if we dare to learn. Let’s discover what ants can teach us.
Such a small thing an ant is, but don’t let that fool you because they sure can build big ideas!
Have you ever been faced with ants in your house? They seem to show up in groups!
Speaking about groups of ants, the biggest ant colony in the world used to be in Japan made up of 306 million workers, 1 million queens and 45,000 nests. A “massive supercolony was found in Southern Europe – built by Argentine ants.”1 That was more than 3700 miles long, including billions of worker ants along with millions of nests. The distance between Mexico to Alaska! Okay that’s amazing!